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What is Shadow IT? Benefits, Risks, and mitigation 

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What is Shadow IT? Benefits, Risks, and mitigation 

There is no secret that many people use their work devices for personal use. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, it can be hard to keep your work life separate from your home life.

This article is about what this means for companies regarding security and productivity and some tips on how to deal with Shadow IT if you find yourself struggling with it. 

We’ll discuss the benefits: why do employees want to partake in Shadow IT? We’ll then talk about some common challenges, including a lack of training on how to manage data outside of a company-controlled environment, which may lead to data breaches and lost productivity due to misuse or overuse. Finally, we will give you some helpful tips to manage Shadow IT.

So What is Shadow IT?

Once upon a time, if you wanted to use your work computer for personal use, that was just out of the question. Nowadays, it’s practically an unspoken truth that people will access their email accounts or social media profiles on their company computers.

Shadow IT is an unofficial, unauthorized, and unapproved use of company resources for personal or business use. Shadow IT can come in many forms, such as using an office computer to check your social media accounts, using work phones, tablets or laptops for personal use, and using a work network connection to access personal email. 

Despite the benefits of Shadow IT (discussed below), there are also risks and challenges associated with it.

What Are The Risks!.

There are benefits to using Shadow IT in a business setting; there are also risks and challenges. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • A lack of security awareness and training may lead to employees inadvertently exposing sensitive company data.
  • Unauthorized applications and devices may pose a security risk as they may not have been approved by the company and may not have the necessary security features enabled.
  • Shadow IT can create data silos as company data is spread out across various personal devices and applications. That can make it challenging to track and manage company information.
  • There is a more significant potential for data loss or theft when company data is stored on personal devices or applications.

What Are The Benefits!

There are several benefits to using Shadow IT in a business setting despite the risks. Here are a few of them:

  • Increased employee productivity – When employees have the flexibility to use the tools and applications they are most comfortable with, they are often more productive.
  • Cost savings – Businesses can save money by avoiding the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining company-approved devices and applications.
  • Increased creativity and innovation – By giving employees the freedom to use their own devices and applications, businesses may find that they are more creative and innovative.

While there are certainly benefits to using Shadow IT in a business setting, it is essential to weigh the risks and challenges. Businesses should consider overcoming the risks and challenges of Shadow IT to realize its benefits fully.

How To Mitigate the Risks

To address these risks and challenges, businesses should consider the following:

  • Invest in security awareness training to mitigate the risk of employees inadvertently exposing company data.
  • Establish clear policies on acceptable and unacceptable use of Shadow IT to avoid unauthorized applications or devices being used within the workplace.
  • Work with employees to determine how best to work together to establish a shared vision for managing company data across multiple personal devices and applications. That can help prevent data loss/theft caused by spreading company data across various personal devices and applications.
  • Allow employees some leeway in using their preferred applications, but ensure that company-approved security features are enabled on all devices before being allowed onto corporate networks. 

That will help protect sensitive corporate information from being compromised.

Final Words 

Shadow IT can come with various risks and challenges, but it also has some clear benefits for businesses. To realize these benefits, companies should consider overcoming the associated risks and challenges. Security awareness training, clear policies, and working with employees are just a few ways businesses can mitigate Shadow IT risks.

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Waqas is a cybersecurity journalist and writer who has a knack for writing technology and online privacy-focused articles. He strives to help achieve a secure online environment and is skilled in writing topics related to cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, Cloud security, and a lot more. As seen in: Computer.org, Nordic APIs, Infosecinstitute.com, Tripwire.com, and VentureBeat.

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